THISDAY Style - - NEWS -

In 2013, Joy Egbejimba started a hand­bag line with the aim of de­liv­er­ing beau­ti­ful qual­ity de­signs at an af­ford­able price. To­day, the Nu­ciano hand­bag, which was launched in the United States, can boast an im­pres­sive mar­ket pres­ence and steady growth in sales. In this in­ter­view with KONYE CHELSEA NWABOGOR, Joy Egbejimba speaks on the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the brand and also on plans to pro­duce lo­cally.

Tell me a bit about your­self?

My name is Joy Egbejimba, I am the de­signer and CEO for NU­CIANO hand­bags. My brand was launched in 2013 and since then, I’ve worked very hard to grow my busi­ness in all as­pects. I have also fo­cused on per­fect­ing the crafts­man­ship of the brand while ex­plor­ing ways to give back. My fo­cus has been on cre­at­ing a sus­tain­able brand while also tee­ter­ing on the border of trendy. Nu­ciano some­times likes to of­fer a “sur­prise” in de­sign by cre­at­ing colour­ful, ex­otic pieces, What does Nu­ciano mean?

The word NU­CIANO is a de­riv­a­tive of my grand mother’s name “Un­nukachi­ano”. I was par­tially raised by my grand­mother, and I spent most of my for­ma­tive years with her and my grand­fa­ther. So, what at­tracted you to leather­work/mak­ing bags?

I’m one of those ladies who get spe­cial calls from the big stores once hand­bags go on sale. Some­times, I would buy a hand­bag for over $3,000 and after few months, it be­comes just like ev­ery other hand­bag in my closet. My goal was to bridge the gap be­tween qual­ity and price. The Nu­ciano brand has been in busi­ness in the US for a while now, why are you just launch­ing in Nige­ria?

Dur­ing the in­de­pen­dent hand­bag award com­pe­ti­tion, we re­ceive over 83% votes from Nige­ria. We also re­ceived nu­mer­ous re­quests on our so­cial me­dia from Nige­ri­ans, want­ing us to bring the bag home. More im­por­tantly, I also no­ticed that big fash­ion houses from Europe come to Fash­ion events held in La­gos to get in­spi­ra­tion from lo­cal de­sign­ers. That, made me re­alise it was time to come home and be a part of the fast grow­ing fash­ion move­ment. What can you say makes the Nu­ciano brand unique and dif­fer­ent?

The Nu­ciano brand rep­re­sents colour, struc­ture, so­phis­ti­ca­tion, and qual­ity. Asides our clas­sic de­signs, our qual­ity and price point also make us quite unique. Who is the ideal Nu­ciano Wo­man?

A wo­man who is self-made, in­de­pen­dent, gen­er­ous, in­tel­li­gent and strong. Any no­table fig­ure who has a Nu­ciano bag in her closet? Oprah Win­frey, Yvonne Orji, MC Lyte, Sarah Michelle Gel­lar to men­tion a few. What is it like de­sign­ing and sell­ing hand­bags in a very com­pet­i­tive mar­ket like the US?

It’s hard com­pet­ing with the big house­hold names like Michael Kors, Tory Burch etc but know­ing your mar­ket niche and keep­ing your fo­cus on sat­is­fy­ing that niche is the key. What ad­vise would you give some­one who is about to go into the leather busi­ness? Do your re­search, have a plan and stay fo­cused.

What chal­lenges do you of­ten en­counter with run­ning the busi­ness?

The very first chal­lenge is find­ings the right group of peo­ple to work with. We strug­gled with that at the be­gin­ning but we now have a stel­lar team that is help­ing me pro­pel the busi­ness fur­ther. Will the Nu­ciano brand be con­sid­er­ing other as­pect of fash­ion in the near fu­ture?

Nu­ciano is def­i­nitely con­sid­er­ing branch­ing out to other as­pect of fash­ion. We will be launch­ing smaller leather goods like belts for both male and fe­male at our launch event soon. We are also in­tro­duc­ing makeup bags as well. Do you have plans to pro­duce in Nige­ria?

Ab­so­lutely, it’s def­i­nitely some­thing I’m con­sid­er­ing do­ing. Dur­ing the 2018 Nige­ri­ans in Di­as­pora con­ven­tion in Wash­ing­ton DC, I met a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the of­fice of Fed­eral Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy and I brought to his at­ten­tion some of the un­fath­omable things I no­ticed in the leather in­dus­try. A lot of the leather I use for my prod­ucts come from Nige­ria raw, gets im­ported into USA to get pro­cessed which I then pur­chase from the leather mer­chant. We both agreed to fur­ther sit down to find a way to bridge this gap and im­prove our leather in­dus­try here in Nige­ria. Does your per­sonal style in­flu­ence your de­signs?

My per­sonal style def­i­nitely in­flu­ences my brand. I used to think it didn’t but ev­ery­day it’s be­com­ing more ap­par­ent to me that it does. Which Nige­rian celebrity would you want to rock a Nu­ciano bag?

I have no pick. I would love for all of them to own a Nu­ciano Bag. I love them all and I’m very proud of how they are rep­re­sent­ing our cul­ture and coun­try.

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